Warren County Public Schools

J. Tyler Franklin

Masking requirements are staying in place for many Kentucky school districts, despite the General Assembly revoking a statewide mask mandate for school systems during a special legislative session last week.

Warren County Public Schools implemented a mask policy on Aug. 11 before Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order or the Kentucky Department of Education’s emergency regulation. The decision was legal under the school district’s authority, and is not affected by the General Assembly’s passage of SB 1, which returned the authrority to make masking decisions to local school boards.

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Warren County Board of Education approved a recommendation from Superintendent Rob Clayton to extend the school system's univeral mask requirement through at least October.

“This will allow us the opportunity to monitor exposures related to fall break activities as our historical data reflects the increase in exposures and quarantines after extended breaks from school," Clayton said.

Lisa Autry

A bus driver shortage in Kentucky and across the nation is adding to families’ stress as students return to school.  The shortage of bus drivers is complicating the start of a school year already besieged by COVID-19. 

Chip Jenkins is Transportation Director for Warren County Public Schools.  He’s normally behind a desk, but lately he’s been behind the wheel.

“It’s definitely tasking, mentally, physically," Jenkins told WKU Public Radio. "I drive six hours a day myself sometimes.”

Rhonda J. Miller

As schools struggle to continue in-person learning as COVID-19 surges across the nation, one school district in southern Kentucky is reporting a decrease in the number of students and staff in quarantine two weeks after a mask mandate went into effect.

Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton said in a news conference Tuesday that the numbers are down substantially from the 1,800 students in quarantine last week.

“We’re at 834 students that are quarantined due to a potential contact exposure at school," Clayton said. "We do not have any staff that are quarantined due to a school contact. However, we have about 100 across the district that are required to quarantine."

Warren County Public Schools

Warren County Public Schools is facing the challenge of an increasing number of students in COVID quarantine, along with a shortage of bus drivers.

Less than three weeks into the school year, Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton said the district is maintaining in-person classes with flexible staffing, while keeping the required watch on COVID-19 numbers.

“The latest data that we have is 324 positive students, 38 positive staff, and approximately 1,800 students are quarantined. Around 10 percent of our student population is quarantined,” said Clayton.

He said about a handful of staff are also in quarantine.


The head of Warren County Public Schools is telling employees to be prepared for the possibility of a return to virtual learning.

There’s a large number of students in quarantine and many vacant staff positions across the system. 

Warren County School District spokeswoman Lauren Thurmond said the district currently has 1,649 students in quarantine. That's nine-percent of the student population.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky school superintendents were grappling with the issue of mask policies before Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order on Tuesday mandating masks for all public schools in the commonwealth.

Prior to the governor's mandate, and only five days into the new school year, Superintendent Rob Clayton issued a mea culpa in announcing Warren County Public Schools would return to masks for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.

“What we do know is that if we had started school with the face coverings, we could have reduced the number of quarantines," Clayton said at a news conference Tuesday.

Sonja Byrd

School districts across Kentucky have to decide by June 1 if they will have a “do-over” year to give students a chance to make up for the academic losses caused by the changing schedules and virtual learning during the pandemic.  

Decisions are being made soon at two school districts in western Kentucky. 

The opportunity for a “do-over” year comes under Kentucky Senate Bill 128, officially called the Supplemental School Year Program, that was contained in a bill signed by Governor Andy Beshear in March.

Students had to request the do-over year by May 1. 

Jess Clark

The head of Warren County Public Schools says he doesn’t support the district offering students a “do over” school year

Kentucky lawmakers approved legislation this year allowing students to apply for an extra year to retake courses in response to school disruptions related to the pandemic.  The decision whether to give students the supplemental year was left up to local school boards, but the decision would have to apply uniformly for all requests.  

WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton said those decisions are best made at the school level on an individual basis.

“Anytime a parent wishes to consider retaining their student, we engage in conversations to look at both the positives and potential unintended consequences," explained Clayton. "My primary concern with the bill is the fact that it’s all or none.”

Lisa Autry

Warren County has been awarded state funding for three highway projects that will improve safety around schools.  

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman visited Bristow Elementary School on Wednesday with a ceremonial check in the amount of $880,000. 

“In order to have the type of state we want, we have to honor and invest in our schools," Coleman said. "I’m a former teacher and I know kids’ well-being, their education and their safety, go hand in hand and they are inseparable.”

One of the projects will eliminate left-hand turns against traffic on U.S. 31W in front of Bristow Elementary.  Traffic exiting the school will be able to more safely cross the busy, four-lane highway. 

Another project will create an additional left-turn lane at the new Cumberland Trace Elementary School.  Funding will allow dual left turn lanes at the intersection of KY 2158 and KY 234.

Sonja Byrd

Warren County Public Schools and Bowling Green Independent Schools are among many districts in Kentucky welcoming students back to more traditional in-person learning that begins this week.

But even with the extensive planning to keep students, teachers, and staff "Safe at School" for the increased in-person classes, Motber Nature has her own ideas and impacted schedules for some school districts.

Plans for this week’s in-person return to Warren County schools have been curtailed due to recent flooding. Professional development sessions were already scheduled for later this week. 

As school districts bring students back into the buildings, families continue to wrestle with concerns about COVID-19, as well as their children’s academic progress and social connections.  

Ana Studer

Educators across Kentucky, and the nation, are finding that the pandemic has caused a loss of academic progress, as students struggle with a roller coaster of schedules and remote learning.

Another major loss is the limitation, or suspension, of extracurricular activities.

The return of in-person learning in many Kentucky school districts may begin to make up for some of the gaps in social connection and academic progress. 

Teachers and students across Kentucky continue the monumental struggle to adapt to COVID-19 safety precautions.

But despite all the best intentions, the pandemic has blasted a hole in the social and academic structure of education. 

Warren County Schools Weighing New Boundaries

Feb 9, 2021
Warren County Public Schools

Warren County Public Schools will soon decide whether to accept new boundaries for its elementary schools.

The WCPS school board will vote at a Feb. 22 meeting on the proposed changes, which impact the boundary lines for a little less than half of the elementary schools in the district.

WCPS communications director Morgan Watson said being one of the fastest growing districts in the commonwealth means the district must re-examine its boundaries every few years.

"Whenever the district looks at the possibility of changing the boundary lines, they look at many things, including the transportation of students to and from the schools, proximity of that available transporation to and from the school. They also look at socio-economic background and future developments of schools, current developments in those areas," Watson said.

Facebook/Warren County Public Schools

Warren County Public Schools will return to full in-person classes on March 1 for K-12 students. 

Superintendent Rob Clayton said in a 'Reopening Update' on Facebook Live on Tuesday that in-person instruction will be Monday through Thursday, with Friday as a virtual learning day for all students. 

Clayton explained why the district is approaching Fridays this way.

"Throughout the school year, we have used this time to collaborate with colleagues, address learning gaps through small group instruction, conduct home visits, and other activities designed to support our students throughout this challenging time,” Clayton said.

The superintendent said that students who choose not to attend in-person can remain in, or switch to, the Virtual Academy. 

Ashley Allen

Warren County is in one of Kentucky’s “red zones” for COVID-19. The county has a high incidence rate of cases that state health officials now want school administrators to consider when planning in-person classes.

The Bowling Green Independent School District has announced that it will continue, through the end of the semester, on its hybrid schedule with students in a specified purple or gold group coming to class on alternating days.

To minimize the spread of the virus, the Bowling Green district also offers COVID-19 testing at the schools for students, staff or immediate family of school staff members.

Bowling Green city schools offer a rapid COVID-19 test with results in about 15-20 minutes for those who have symptoms of the virus within the last five days.

Fons Cervera

Warren County Public schools will continue with a hybrid schedule of classes through the end of the calendar year. 

The decision is based, in part, on the state’s new system that tracks the number of coronavirus cases in K-12 schools. 

Under the state’s new metric for reopening schools to in-person classes, Warren County is in the Red category, meaning a daily rate of 25 individuals per 100,000 have a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Gov. Andy Beshear is recommending any county in the Red category postpone all in-person learning until it reaches Yellow status, meaning less than ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 individuals.